Netsells launches a new website for mixed reality game platform Outscape

Outscape is an escape room style game with a difference. Instead of playing in a building or set of defined physical spaces, teams are able to play outside in the real world, supported by immersive AR technology.

Alongside providing entertainment, the platform also seeks to constructively re-engage people with the physical world, as the game can be adapted for every type of location, allowing users to explore their city or surrounding area in a gamified manner.

We asked CEO, Filippos Katsilidis, to explain how he came up with the idea and his vision for the platform:

“The idea for Outscape started about 7 years ago, when the realisation came to me that smartphones are getting to extremely realistic levels of image quality, graphics, sensors, GPS, fast internet connectivity. In my mind, it was just a matter of time until a multiplayer game played in the real world took advantage of this to make a very successful game that utilises the smartphone as a “controller” or a “window” to the real world, and take players out to explore.

Leaving another career in 2015, I started exploring this idea with more time on my hands. The developments and establishment of Augmented Reality into the mainstream with the technology making huge leaps in the last few years was the last push to make me explore it, and in a self learning journey that started as a hobby I went from being completely clueless about coding 2.5 years ago, to developing our first prototype game from scratch in a few months, driven by the vision of creating a game that blends virtual and physical, is fun and multiplayer, and is built around interesting historical spots.

Since that successful pilot game launch played by more than 2,000 players in the City of London, we have now launched our first game directly to players from our new brand - whereas beforehand games were offered to partners on a B2B basis - which is an even more advanced and interactive experience due to the incorporation of Augmented Reality and image recognition to the game. The possibilities of the technology to be used for narrative expression has led us to some very exciting ideas for our next games that we are looking forward to materialise very soon. This has gathered further conviction by observing the success of Escape Room games (which are also real, non virtual gaming experiences) in the last decade, despite an ever more digitised gaming and entertainment sector.

Our vision is to make people of all ages go out of their living rooms and play games that educate them about their city and its history and connect them with other players in the real world rather than the virtual, a goal we are hoping to start achieving with our development of downloadable games starting later this year, to be played in several places and museums starting from London next year, and the rest of the world soon after.”

Our Process:

Discovery

We started the project off with a review of the existing site and a competitor analysis to ensure that we were primed to present and position Outscape at the forefront of the market.

As part of our discovery process we also developed User Journey Maps showing the paths taken by a typical user on the website. This analysis allowed us to pinpoint the ideal site structure from the user's perspective.

Our team was also tasked with investigating booking system options from a technical and user experience perspective, alongside advising on a live chat system that could be seamlessly integrated into the website.

This initial research phase was then followed by a set of  concept designs which the Outscape team could review and feedback on. This feedback was then used to refine the full designs which would then be realised in full by our development team.

Development

To manage the backend and content of the website, we utlised Hatchly, our in-house CMS built in Laravel PHP.

For the frontend, the team used Nuxt.js, a web application framework based on Vue.js, Node.js, Express.js, Webpack and Babel.js.

One of the key benefits of Nuxt.js is that it allows you to easially create universal apps. A universal app is used to describe JavaScript code that can execute both on the client and the server side. This has a massive positive impact on the speed of the site, which is ideal if you’re trying to opimise for search engine results and increase your conversion rate on bookings.

See the results for yourself here!

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